Reflections on a Summer Performance

By Erin Lowden

On August 22, 2012 Assistant Professor of dance Mariah Maloney embarked on an amazing journey to the historical Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival with 15 current and former Brockport dance students. Upon arrival on Wednesday evening the dancers perused the grounds of The Pillow, checked out the Inside/Out stage that they would be performing on the next day and watched the Joffrey Ballet company take class before their opening night performance in the Ted Shawn Theatre. The dancers were also given the opportunity to see the Doug Elkins Company perform and chat with Doug Elkins himself post show.

The following day Mariah and her dancers started the day with a self guided warm up in a studio resembling a log cabin. After warming up, the dancers were able to get on the Inside/Out stage and walk through the works that they would be performing. The day was spent in the beautiful outdoor space overlooking the Massachusetts Berkshires.

After a day of staging in the sun, Mariah Maloney Dance performed as the sun began to set on the outdoor space at 6:15pm. The performance opened with a solo performed by Mariah Maloney to classical Irish music. This was followed by Vensters, a piece danced by 14 women. Vensters was immediately followed by a duet danced by Mariah and MFA graduate Hannah Seidel and another solo, performed by Seidel. The performance closed with Rock, danced by 6 women to rock music. After the show there was a 10-minute discussion where the audience was able to ask questions and give their opinions on the works.

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Upcoming: Dance/Strasser and Dance/Hartwell to feature MFA Thesis Works

Four of the seven 2013 Master of Fine Arts candidates will be presenting choreography as the creative component of their final thesis projects. Dance/Strasser, October 18-20, will showcase Mapping by Nicole Kaplan. In Kaplan’s own words, Mapping is a glimpse inside the human mind, or rather, a confrontation of the ego. Eight women form a community of strength through combative yet supportive moving-forms through space, where complex rhythmic structures are brought to life through weight sensing and unpredictable partnering sequences.

With performances November 1-3, Dance/Hartwell is set to feature thesis work by Falon Baltzell and Juliana Utz, with an additional thesis excerpt by Janet Schroeder. Ensconce, choreographed by Falon Baltzell, contributes to the discourse of choreographic possibilities for the concert stage through movement investigations of negative space and confined spatial design. According to Baltzell, the dancers’ explorations of negative space leave the mental image of a picture, in which it dissipates while another one emerges. Throughout the piece, the dancers introduce specific movement details that come and go, yet leave an impression. Baltzell believes with spatial limitation comes discovery of movement possibilities; a playground of sorts where rules don’t apply. On the other end of the concert dance spectrum, Janet Schroeder presented the 45-minute concert Tap and… at the Rochester Fringe Festival in September, which featured a variety of percussive dances. The U.S. premiere of “Beat it” was in that concert, and it will also be shown in DANCE/Hartwell. “Beat it” was originally created for La Compañía de Danza Contemporánea, a professional company in Puebla, Mexico, where Schroeder served as guest artist in July 2012.

Stay tuned for more thesis works to come this spring by MFA candidates Anna Corvera, Amanda McCullum, and Elizabeth Osborn.

Additional Information:
Dance/Strasser October 18-20, 7:30pm
Dance/Hartwell November 1-3, 7:30pm and November 3, 2pm
Tickets are $15 general admission; $10 faculty, staff and alumni; $8 students.
Available now at Tower Fine Arts Box Office and at Hartwell Theater Box Office one hour before show time.

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An Evening with Randee Paufve and …Mary Todd Lincoln???

By Oluyinka Akinjiola

This summer, 2,697 miles away from Hartwell hall, I found myself feeling a little bit closer to the Brockport community in an unforeseen sequence of events. Almost three months preceding, I inquired to Conduit Dance, located in Portland, Oregon, about joining the non-profit organization as a summer intern. Despite the director, Tere Mathern, and I being complete strangers, she openly invited me to join Conduit’s team.
Soon after flying across the country, my tasks began with the staff and volunteers in preparing for the Just 17 Annual benefit on June 16th, 2012. The evening of the benefit revealed the gravity of Conduit dance to the community of Portland, and its importance as a venue for contemporary and modern dance. To commend the hard work of the founders of Conduit, a woman I had never met or heard of addressed the audience. Her name was Randee Paufve, who has built a decade-long relationship with the studio, and continues to bring work to Portland while incorporating local dancers into the work she presents. Randee Paufve Dance was to premier Randee’s most recent work, “So I Married Abraham Lincoln…” the following weekend.

Following the Annual Benefit, my tasks continued with the volunteer coordination of ushers for the showing of Randee’s work and house managing the theater on closing night. Without knowing much of the premise for the work (other than the title) I watched the piece with an open mind on opening night. I was awe stricken as the Paufve Company and chorus of Portland dancers executed the complexities of Mary Todd Lincoln’s life of agony, insanity, joy, pain and survival after the assassination of her husband. The transitions throughout the hour long show were seamless as the audience was taken through Mary Todd’s mental journey. The line between audience and participant merged as the crowd joined the performers in a séance on the floor in an effort to make contact with the departed Abraham. The crowd was brought to tears with the conclusion of an a capella gospel song, seeming to bring peace to the end of Mary Todd’s life.

After the show, I asked Randee about her inspiration for the work. She replied that after seeing Bill T. Jones’ work based on Abraham Lincoln, she thought, “what about Mary Todd?” And thus began her choreographic research. After the over packed house was cleared, only Randee and I remained to close the studio for the night. As we struggled to reset alarms and lock up the studio, she asked me “where are you from.” I responded, “well…I am currently getting my MFA in a small town in New York called Brockport.” Randee’s disposition towards me shifted from a rush to leave to an elated stance as she said “I got my MA at Brockport! Is Jacquie Davis still there?” Our already pleasant relationship immediately shifted to feeling like long lost family members. We embraced at the corner of 10th and Ankeny and said our goodbyes. Even though we were both almost 3,000 miles from Brockport we still had a small community that not only stretched across a distance but also generations.

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Bringing Brockport to the Rochester Fringe Festival

The first ever Rochester Fringe Festival kicks off Wednesday, September 19th. Brockport dancers, alumni, and faculty are boasting a decidedly strong presence at this historic event in the Rochester arts scene! With affordable ticket prices, including many free shows, downtown will be the place to see and be seen for the dance community.

Thursday:
Present Tense Dance at Kilbourn Hall, featuring work by Anne Harris-Wilcox and Eddie Murphy
Friday:
On Tap: Original Music with Dance, with work by Missy Pfohl-Smith, Courtney World, and Rebecca McArthur
Saturday:
InFlux Dance at ROCO, directed by Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp
BIODANCE at Christ Church
Mariah Maloney Dance at the George Eastman House Terrace Gardens
RAPA’s Day of Dance showcasing work by MFA candidates Matthew Frazier-Smith, Amanda McCullum and Elizabeth Osborn and MFA graduates Kristi Faulkner and Richard Haisma
Lighter Tones featuring work by Mariko Yamada and MFA candidate Matthew Frazier-Smith
Heather Roffe Dance at GEVA Nextstage
Bill Evans Dance Company on the free stage at Gibbs Street.
Sunday:
RAPA’s Day of Dance featuring work by MFA candidates Nicole Kaplan, Juliana Utz, and Janet Schroeder
Bill Evans Dance Company at the Eastman School of Music
Heather Roffe Dance at GEVA Nextstage

For details regarding parking, ticketing, specific schedules and a map of participating venues, visit the festival website or pick up a festival guide. Join us as we leave Hartwell Hall for an exciting and unforgettable weekend. See you at the Fringe!

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Fall Preview, Plus: Monica Bill Barnes is Back in Brockport!

It should come as no surprise that the upcoming season will be jam-packed with your favorite dance events, plus a few extra surprises. To kick off the semester, Monica Bill Barnes is back!

New York City choreographer Monica Bill Barnes (Monica Bill Barnes & Company) returns to Brockport for her third weeklong residency with company member Anna Bass. This year, Barnes will be working with eight previously selected undergraduate and graduate students to generate and develop material for her new company piece. Progress of the residency work will be shared publicly during three “Report Sessions” throughout the week. Everyone is encouraged to attend all three of them. On Friday, culminating the residency, master classes will be taught by Barnes and Bass to Dance majors and minors.

Barnes and work group students will share the progress and process of the residency. Report Sessions, composed of showing of the material and Barnes’ talk, will be different each evening. Students are encouraged to attend all three sessions. Each session is scheduled to last up to 1 hour.
Report Session #1: Tuesday, September 4th, Location-TBA, 5:15pm
Report Session #2: Wednesday, September 5th, Rose L. Strasser Studio, 5:15pm
Report Session #3: Thursday, September 6th, Hartwell Theatre, 7:00pm

Additionally, the first ever Rochester Fringe Festival will take place in downtown Rochester September 20-22, featuring many current Brockport Dance students and alumni. See http://rochesterfringe.com for more information.

Concert dates for Brockport are:
DANCE/Strasser October 18-20 at 7:30pm
DANCE/Hartwell November 1 and 2 at 7:30pm, and November 3 at 2pm and 7:30pm
DANSCORE, in a new setting, November 15 and 16 at 7:30 in Strasser Studio, and November 17 at 7:30pm at Hochstein School of Music and Dance in Rochester
New Dancers Showcase November 30 and December 1 at 7:30pm
Dime-A-Dance December 5 and 6 at 7:30pm

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Emerging Dance Artists: Perspectives from a Freshman and a Senior

By Falon Baltzell

Have you ever questioned what a career in dance consists of and what the possibilities are? In an attempt to answer this inquiry, we interviewed two students in the Department of Dance. Senior BFA in Dance who most recently graduated Cum Laude, Caitlin Thurgood and freshman double major pursuing a BA in Dance and a BS in Spanish with education certification in Spanish, Chloe Leibrick. Both described life as a dancer, ranging from initial thoughts about dance as a career to their future contributions in the field.

When quested about her perspective on careers in dance, Thurgood explained how she has “intentions of further developing her kinesiology/somatic practice as a fitness trainer, a professor at a university, or a performing arts educator in a high school setting.” In ten years from now, Thurgood sees herself performing in a company on the West coast and becoming involved with guest residencies. What about having a family of her own? After a deep exhalation and a few giggles, Thurgood said a family is possible in the distant future but not anytime soon because she wants to establish a career first. When asked how she would like to contribute to the field of dance, Thurgood explained, “I want to influence people with dance so they may experience the love of it, help them find their own uniqueness, voice, and confidence.” Currently, Thurgood is participating at The Yard at Martha’s Vineyard, a performing arts center that gives dancers and choreographers freedom with their creativity; a magical working environment.

Similar to Thurgood but a bit different, Leibrick’s ideals about possibilities in a dance career include becoming a member in a contemporary dance company or performing on Broadway. In a decade from now, Leibrick plans on having a “dual career as an eighth grade Spanish teacher as well as a dancer in a modern or contemporary company, or even a member of a Broadway cast. I do not know which one will come first, or if they will happen at the same time, but I can’t wait to find out!” When asked about having a family of her own, Leibrick responded by saying family is very important to her and she intends on having her own family in the far future. Leibrick’s future contribution to the field of dance consists of providing “an everlasting sense of encouragement and hope to every aspiring modern dancer after me.” Leibrick is currently a dance teacher at Syracuse Children’s Theater Summer Camps, which she considers “the best job in the world” because she is giving back to the theater program that provided her with wonderful childhood memories.

Both Leibrick and Thurgood have bright futures in dance because of their dedication, determination, and future contributions. These two ladies have provided insight about the possibilities within a dance career, which are plentiful and interdisciplinary. As one can see, the dance world offers many opportunities, which provides longevity within a career.

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National Dance Education Organization Student Chapter Celebrates a Successful Year

by Amanda McCullum

Tiny Dance Concert

NDEOBrockport has had one busy year! With a newly revised constitution we were able to organize and conduct several highly successful events in the 2011-2012 academic year. These events included a grant writing workshop in the fall and the exhilarating Hip Hop Happening, a workshop and choreography showcase that served K-12 students from the region, in the spring. We also hosted our second annual Tiny Dance Concert at A Different Path Art Gallery in Brockport. NDEO Brockport prides itself in its mission to serve not only to the students in the dance department but also to our surrounding community.

As we look forward to the 2012-2013 school year we anticipate many exciting new opportunities for our chapter. NDEO Brockport will welcome the inauguration of its own chapter of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts, as instituted by the National Dance Education Organization, which honors and recognizes the outstanding academic achievements of the members of NDEO Brockport on a national level! This organization will enable students to graduate with honors and show off their cords at graduation so that everyone has a visible reminder of the scholarship achieved at The College at Brockport and how it aids in advancing the field of dance at large.

Hip Hop Happening

The 2012-2013 officer team includes Co-chairs Matthew Frazier-Smith and Chelsea Gavazzi, Secretary Angie Muzzy, Public Relations Anna Corvera, Undergraduate Representative Natalie Swan, and Faculty Advisor Juanita Suarez. A few officer positions have been left available for entering students to have an opportunity for leadership in the department. These positions include Treasurer, Undergraduate Representative, and NHSDA administrator. Any Brockport student interested in developing your leadership skills and working with a great team please contact Juanita Suarez. Keep up to date on all our events by checking out our NDEO board in the dance hall or our new Facebook page!

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Special Guest Writer Reviews DANCE/Strasser

By Imani Roache, Intro to Dance student

On Friday, April 13 I had the pleasure of attending Brockport’s DANCE/Strasser show. Based on my satisfaction from the Hartwell performance I had attended a few weeks prior, I had great expectations for this concert as well. Not surprisingly, Brockport’s Dance Department wowed me once again.

Photo by Rebecca Puretz

DANCE/Strasser opened with a piece named “Who Are You in Your Moving Form; Just Keep Swimming” that included fifteen or so dancers – more than I have normally seen in a Brockport performance. The lighting was dim creating a mood of what seemed like mystery for the audience. The dancers eventually split off into groups, partaking in a series of repetitive movements throughout the dance allowing for me to easily assume what would come next. At the end of the piece all of the groups became one in a cluster downstage providing a sense of togetherness. While the piece was rather lengthy – around fifteen to twenty minutes – I found it to be one of the more capturing pieces as there was never a dull moment.

Photo by Rebecca Puretz

The fourth piece was the winner of the Student Dance Organization’s “Dancing with the Athletes” competition. It was entitled “Bounce” and brought a great sense of humor and a light mood to the previously somber moods portrayed in the preceding selections. Two of the dancers being athletes made for an entertaining piece. The use of more mainstream music such as “It Takes Two” and “Sexy and I Know It” also made the piece memorable. It was nearly impossible to avoid smiling as the piece had so much character.

“Silent Passerby, Begin Again” and “Gravity Attic” were two pieces that used a considerable amount of repetition in their movements; “Silent Passerby, Begin Again” used the movement of wiggling their fingers while reaching behind themselves over and over, and “Gravity Attic” included a lot of flipping of the hair and leg kicks. “Gravity Attic” used the entire space of the stage to perform, giving the eye a variety of places to look while in contrast, the piece “Silent Passerby, Begin Again” took place mainly downstage and to the right, and with the lighting gave the audience more of a focal point of viewing.

Another humorous piece was entitled “Three Femmes.” The dancers entered the stage using gestures and facial expressions to show some sort of confusion. The rest of the dance they shifted from moving together to apart by rolling and scooting across the ground and by repeating the movement of grabbing one another’s buttocks, leading to an uproar of laughter from the audience. The characterization each dancer brought to the performance helped create a sense of friendship between the girls and a likableness for them.

Overall, the performance was very well executed and had a good balance between dances that were somber, empowering, and humorous. Brockport’s Dance Department never ceases to impress me with their talent.

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Graduation Dance Concert

By Angie Muzzy

photo by Christopher Duggan

On Friday, May 11, we said goodbye to the graduating class of 2012. 21 dancers graced the Hartwell Theater stage during Graduation Dances, which was dedicated to Jacqueline Davis. The two shows consisted of solos that displayed extraordinary performance skills, artistry and talent. Each dancer demonstrated their strength, presence and commitment to their performed works. Some of the graduating class self-choreographed while others performed works by faculty, alums, and current students. The variety of choreography is just another example that the Department of Dance community prepares strong, smart, and stunning individuals for the field. We look forward to hearing about and perhaps seeing all of you talented Brockport Alums in the future. Congratulations to the class of 2012!

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DANCE/Hartwell: A Box of Surprises

By Marielys Burgos Meléndez

Photo by Rebecca Puretz

Each semester the agenda of dance majors and minors is full of academic and artistic commitments. As part of their educational experience students have the opportunity to compose, perform, produce and coordinate the DANCE/Hartwell concert. It is demanding, but their engagement with the dance field is the foundation for these students’ hard work.

During the weekend of March 29th to the 31st, a variety of pieces was presented, some of them uncommon for the audience. This is the case for graduate students Elizabeth Osborn and Falon Baltzell. Osborn’s piece, “A Quartet” was performed by a different dancer every night; if you, like me, had the opportunity to see the event twice, this detail would not have passed unnoticed, for the quality of the movement in this choreography changed drastically from one performer to another. Baltzell composed and performed an enigmatic solo piece entitled “Box of Truth.” During almost the entire piece Baltzell maneuvered through complicated and repetitive angular shapes with her legs and left arm while her right arm covered her faced. The piece was performed in silence which let the audience experience Baltzell’s exhaustion throughout; it was definitely a breathtaking experience.

Photo by Rebecca Puretz

In addition, several choreographies of the evening were accompanied by live music. Professor Greg Ketchum accompanied Mathew Frazier-Smith’s composition, “Fair and Balanced,” while Professor Tamara Wilcox performed for Mariko Yamada’s piece “En Bloc.” DANCE/Hartwell was indeed a delightful box of surprises thanks to the effort of Artistic Director Professor Williams Evans, graduate student Nicole Kaplan as Concert Coordinator, and Benoit Beauchamp, Director of Dance Production.

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